Peruvian Ají Verde (Peruvian Green Sauce)

An addictive alternative to your usual salsa, this Peruvian Ají Verde recipe (Peruvian Green Sauce) gets its gorgeous green hue from cilantro, jalapeño, huacatay paste (Peruvian black mint), and scallion. The flavors meld together with a bit of lime juice, olive oil, mayo, and cotija (or parmesan) in a creamy sauce that’s sure to be a new favorite! 

Peruvian Aji Verde Recipe in ceramic bowl with a green rim, cilantro, and salsa de palta.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Peruvian Green Sauce

This is the companion recipe to the Baked Peruvian Style Meatballs with Ají Verde I posted a few days ago! This somewhat spicy, salty, savory, herbal sauce is so creamy and delicious… and guess what? It’s super quick and easy to make!

If you have followed Beyond Mere Sustenance for any length of time, you probably know of my love affair with Peru. This classic Peruvian ají verde is one of many that may appear on your table if you ask your server for “ají.” Occasionally a menu might indicate a companion sauce, but not typically. I guess that’s part of the fun?  😀

We first had ají verde sauce in Cuzco at a small family-owned café. The condiment was served with fried yuca root. It was love at first bite. Our server was gracious enough to tell us (in Spanish!) the ingredients, and I’ve been making it ever since!

Peruvian Aji Verde close up in a green rimmed ceramic bowl with a small spoon.

🌶 What is Peruvian Ají Verde Sauce?

Peruvian Ají Verde Sauce is a very popular condiment found throughout Peru. While many people refer to it as a Peruvian “hot sauce,” I find it quite mild. Maybe that’s because I spent 22 years in New Mexico eating hot Hatch green chile?

This ají requires IMHO 2 less-than-common ingredients: Ají amarillo paste and huacatay (black mint) paste. Say what? Don’t get concerned quite yet… Many American versions of ají verde rely only on jalapeño peppers for the heat (and the green color), I highly recommend the addition of the Peruvian chile pastes.

Latin foods markets in the US and abroad have finally begun carrying Peruvian ingredients. It took them long enough. Peruvian cooking is definitely “trending,” and it’s about time they start to stock some of these fabulous ingredients. Additionally, you can find ají amarillo pastehuacatay, and a mixed sampler that also includes ají panca.

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📋 Ingredients Notes

  • cilantro
  • jalapeños
  • scallions
  • cotija – Feta is a good substitute.
  • ají amarillo paste – Available in the international foods section in many markets, and online.
  • huacatay paste – Available in the international foods section in many markets, and online.
  • lime juice – Please use fresh!
  • vinegar – White wine or other mild vinegar.
  • olive oil
  • mayonnaise
  • sea salt

NOTE: I highly recommend finding and using the Peruvian ají amarillo paste and black mint paste. Your resulting sauce will be much closer to an authentic Peruvian ají verde sauce.

🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions

Cilantro, lime juice, mayo, olive oil, cotija, aji amarillo, huacatay paste, in the bowl of a food processor.
  • This really is a quick (and very simple) recipe once you’ve gathered the ingredients… no cooking! Simply wash a bunch of cilantro, cut the stems at the base of the leaves, and add it and all the other ingredients to your food processor. Pulse until smooth.

❓FAQ

How long can I keep my ají verde?

This Peruvian ají verde sauce keeps in the refrigerator for several days.

What is the best mayonnaise to use?

I use a good olive oil mayonnaise or one I make myself. Avoid Miracle Whip. It will bring flavors to the sauce that don’t work well.

💭 Tips

Most of the calories in ají verde sauce come from the mayonnaise. I have substituted plain Greek yogurt for half of the mayonnaise, and we like it just as well!

So what are you waiting for? This ají is so versatile: You’ll love it on simple roasted chicken or grilled meats, as a dip for fried yucca, roasted potatoes, even chips (if you’re so inclined). To make a party of it all, serve my Fermented Peruvian Red Pepper Salsa alongside.

With the holidays fast upon us, I think you’ll agree, this is one condiment that you’ll want to add to your “repertoire!” Dump the ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth. It’ll keep for days in the refrigerator, but I’m guessing it won’t last that long…

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes.

Peruvian Aji Verde Recipe / www.beyondmeresustenance.com feature image close up.

Peruvian Ají Verde (Peruvian Green Sauce)

A classic Peruvian ají verde sauce with herbal cilantro, ají amarillo paste, huacatay paste, cotija, and more. Serve with roasted potatoes, grilled meats, or even with chips. It’ll be your new favorite condiment!
4.70 from 10 votes

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Other
Cuisine Peruvian
Servings 24 servings
Calories 35 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 bunch cilantro - cut at the base of the leaves (fine stems are okay)
  • ½ to 2 jalapeños - stemmed and seeded, cut in chunks
  • 2 scallions - green parts only, cut in 2″ pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cotija - feta is a good substitute cut in chunks
  • 1 tablespoon ají amarillo paste - more or less to taste
  • 2 teaspoons huacatay paste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon white wine - or other mild vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to the bowl of a large food processor.
  • Pulse until smooth.
  • Taste for seasoning and texture. (Add salt if necessary. The cheese is salty) Add a bit more olive oil for a thinner consistency.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Keeps in the refrigerator for several days.
I use a good olive oil mayonnaise or one I make myself. This is where most of the calories come from. Most recently, I have started substituting plain Greek yogurt for half of the mayonnaise.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 35 calories per tablespoon +/-; 0 g protein; 1 g carbohydrates; 3 g fat. Note: Based on a 1 1/4 cup batch and about 20 tablespoons. This is just a reference!

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fat: 3g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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6 Comments

  1. A friend was talking about a Peruvian salsa verde the other day and here it is. It looks delicious and with such different flavors due to the different chiles. I’ll have to go to the local Mexican mercado to find the pastes but it’s going to be worth it. Thanks Tamara!